Goucher's Brown has badge, but it isn't exactly student ID

Guard returns to school after hiatus to join county police force

College basketball

February 15, 2007|By Christian Ewell | Christian Ewell,Sun reporter

These days, Cameron Brown, a starting guard at Goucher, embraces the same routine that drove him away from college life two years ago.

On most mornings, the Owings Mills resident makes the 15-minute commute, takes two classes, studies for 2 1/2 hours and then heads to basketball practice.

But unpredictability was the norm - as well as the attraction -after Brown left school for 17 months to become a patrol officer for the Baltimore County Police Department. For much of his eight-month stint responding to calls to the Wilkins Precinct, that's the way he liked it.

"I wanted a job that provided a [different challenge] every day, something where I was constantly busy," said Brown, 22, who was used to action from his days at Owings Mills, where he was a starting guard and quarterback for the high school's basketball and football teams. "I didn't want to do the same things every day. It was all hands-on. I was forced to do things on the fly."

On leave from the department while pursuing his degree in communications, Brown has taken on a leadership position on the court at Goucher while helping the Gophers (7-16, 4-11 Capital Athletic Conference) through a rebuilding stage. He is averaging 10.1 points and 6.1 rebounds, while contributing nearly two steals per game, despite being away from the sport for more than a year.

"He's getting back," Goucher coach Leonard Trevino said. "The year away puts a little rust on you, so he's just a little off in his timing. But he's rounded out a little bit. He's not the most gifted player, but one who knows how to get things done."

More important, Brown feels comfortable academically, a change from his first go-round at the school.

After a rocky fall semester in 2002, he failed out of Goucher after spring courses, he said. He reapplied to the school and was accepted on a probationary basis.

Although he attained a grade point average above 3.0 for the next three semesters, college had become a grind, he said.

"It was a mental thing," Brown said. "I wasn't happy, thinking, `Do I need college?'"

Introduced to the idea of the police department by his grandfather, Cameron Sr., Brown was intrigued. "I was able to make money and I was able to do what I wanted to do," he said.

So after the Gophers' 2004-05 season, Brown left school and applied to the Baltimore County Police Training Academy. Brown worked for a temp agency for three months before being accepted to the academy, where he was for six months before joining the force in December 2005.

"I was a little confused, but I kind of let him do what he wanted to do," said his mother, Yvette Brown. "Whatever made him happy, as long as it's positive."

Much of Brown's police work was routine. No shootouts. No drug busts. Mostly shoplifting arrests and warrant serving.

There was a foot chase and arrest after a tense car chase. "That was my most adrenaline-inducing call," he said. "And that happened my third week."

The ever-present threat of danger was part of his affinity for the job. Another part, at least initially, was a more simplified lifestyle.

"Once I was home, I was home," Brown said. "No homework. No studying."

Still, returning to school was in the back of his mind. His mother and his girlfriend, Goucher student Rae'a Brauer, led the chorus of voices urging him to earn his degree, which he now can do by December.

"It's not in front of you, but it's working toward something bigger and better," he said. "And the time away helped me to realize that."

christian.ewell@baltsun.com

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